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Friday, January 27, 2006

IF I WEREN’T SUCH A FEMINIST, THIS WOULD BE QUITE EMASCULATING.

First off, I don’t make as much money as my wife. So there. It’s not even close. I make a fraction of what my wife does, and it makes perfect sense. She has an advanced degree from an Ivy League school. I flunked high school. She works in business. I’m in TV news. There is no money in TV news. Not in this market, anyway.

But I’m not complaining. I lived on my wages until I was about 30, and it sucked. For a period of time, I lived in a garage. Before that, I lived in a Subaru. So I’m more than happy that I eventually met and married someone who makes more money than a Burger King employee.

Quite frankly, I’ve never quite understood why men have problems if their wives make more money than they do. Why does that upset men? Are they mad that they have to live a higher standard of living? Is it the nicer vacations that have them down? Or do they just relish poverty?

It’s hard to say for sure, bit I imagine it has something to do with traditional gender roles. The whole “man as a provider” thing dies hard. I take pride in not being tied down by stuffy old traditions, but… well… perhaps I shouldn’t take too much pride.

Today my wife and I went to get a home loan. We brought a big envelope full of documents to prove that we have jobs and bank accounts and that we’re very nice people and that we’ll pay all that money back if you just give us 30 years. In that envelope was my first pay stub from my new job. It reflected my big new raise. There was even some overtime on it. It was perhaps the biggest paycheck I’ve ever taken home.

So the broker is looking at my wife’s pay stubs and a bank statement and he seems very happy. He runs a credit check and smiles even more. Then I offer him my pay stub.

“Oh I don’t think we’ll be needing that.”

“You sure?”

“Oh yeah, we can get you approved with your wife’s income alone.”

“Well, won’t my income really help push it over the edge?”

“No, it’s just one more thing we have to document. You’ll be fine with just your wife’s income.”

“You sure, because I’ve got the pay stub right here? I got a raise… it says it right here.”

“Really, it’ll be fine. I’ve already run the numbers and you’re pre-approved.”

“Well… ok. If you need my pay stub… you know… I’ve got it right here.”

I guess it should be reassuring. As far as the mortgage people are concerned, I can get canned tomorrow (and that happens all the time in TV news) and nobody would really care.

It was a tad emasculating, however. But there isn’t much to do about it now. I guess I’ll just stop thinking about it and finish my crème brulee. It really is quite delicious.

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